KARACHI - The passing of Home-Based Workers Act 2018 by Sindh Assembly is a historical moment because of which over five million home-based workers have been legally recognised as workers and entitled to form unions for collective bargaining, social security, pension and likes.
These views were expressed by speakers at a public meeting convened by Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) at Arts Council on Saturday.
Workers and trade unionists congratulate the Sindh government, especially its labour ministry, and urged the other provinces in the country to follow the lead and legislate similarly. They said that the Act was the first of its kind legislation in the world in which home-based workers have been given recognition and rights.
Like the 200 million across the world, the 12 million home-based workers force in the country had been demanding their rights for years in accordance with the International Labor Organization convention 17, passed in 1996, and because of their untiring movement, they finally are able to achieve them.
The speakers said that the home-based workers, of which women make 80 percent, play a crucial role in the production process and according to an estimate they make products worth Rs400 billion annually. The workforce is contributing to the textile, shoemaking, packaging, fisheries, and sports industries in the country, they added.
They said that the draft bill of the Act was handed to the Sindh government after a thorough tripartite consultation and finally on May 9, the assembly unanimously passed it. With this law, the home-based workers now have been legally entitled to health facilities, pension, welfare fund, maternity leaves, minimum wage, dowry and other such grants, they added.
They said that according to this law, a council will be made in which workers representatives from trade unions and federation and government employees will be inducted. The council will conduct a survey on home-based workers and their role in different industries. It will also make committees at the district level that will ensure registration of workers, they further said.
At the event, the HBWWF awarded shields to the people who contributed and helped the formation of the law. The event was chaired by HBWWF General Secretary Zehra Khan as Sindh Minister for Labour Nasir Hussain Shah, labour leaders, workers, political and social activists attended it.
Meanwhile, the speakers stressed on making rules of the Act so that it becomes functional. They expected that the federation will be taken onboard in the tripartite consultation on home-based workers and other issues.
Those who spoke at the event include Provincial Labour Minister Nasir Hussain Shah, Provincial Labour Secretary Abdul Rasheed Solangi and other representatives of labour organisations.